Seven-term Virginia State Senator Edd Houck conceded defeat Thursday night, handing over complete control of the government in Richmond to the Republican Party.
“The Senate Republicans are now the majority party in the Senate of Virginia,” said Republican Senate leader Tommy Norment in a statement.
The chamber is split 20�“20 after the GOP picked up two seats on Tuesday, but the tie-breaking vote goes to Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling. The Republican party now controls both houses of the legislature, the Virginia Governor’s Mansion and the attorney general’s office for only the second time since the Civil War.
“Make no mistake about it, there is a Republican majority in the state Senate,” Bolling told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
“To the hundreds of my supporters, I wish I could have given you the victory you deserve,” Houck wrote in a statement posted to his Facebook page. “But, it simply did not happen. At 4:00 today, I called Bryce Reeves, made my concession, wished him well and offered my assistance as he enters into the Senate of Virginia.”
In a news release, Reeves, a former Army Ranger and commercial real estate developer, said, ”I am looking forward to serving the people of the 17th District and working with Governor Bob McDonnell in Richmond to create jobs, grow our economy, improve our schools and keep Virginia moving in the right direction.”
The shifting winds of Virginia politics have been under a microscope since the state’s 13 electoral votes went to Barack Obama in 2008, the first time since 1964 that Virginia was a presidential blue state. That victory led former Democratic Governor Tim Kaine to declare Virginia the “New Dominion.” But the midterm elections saw the election of Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, who now enjoys approval ratings of over 60 percent, and whose name has been floated as a potential GOP vice-presidential pick.
All the incumbent Republicans in Virginia’s House and Senate retained their seats in Tuesday’s election. Republicans added at least six seats to their House majority, which now stands at 66�“34. One additional race was called for a Republican but will likely face a recount. The Virginia House’s lone independent typically caucuses with the Republicans.
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